Reflection: Haman’s speech is a case study of how prejudice is sown, and enemies constructed. He focuses on separation and difference rather than integration and similarity; caste difference as deviance and separation as lawlessness; and finally declares “certain people” an “intolerable” threat. Haman’s personal grievance against one individual escalates to engulf an entire people.
Persian rule depended on a thoroughly hierarchical worldview in which royals were superior to commoners, men superior to women, Persians superior to other races, and slaves didn’t count as people at all. Such assumptions about the nature of reality are fertile ground in which persecution and discrimination flourish.
Imagine you are Xerxes. What is it about Haman’s speech that you find so persuasive?
Engaging our world: The ugly spectre of prejudice and racism haunts Christian history. Parts of the church supported slavery, apartheid, the Holocaust, and the dispossession and denigration of indigenous peoples. Which groups are we inclined to denigrate today?
Prayer: Creator God, we confess that we sometimes retreat from difference and feel threatened by it; forgive us. Lord Jesus, in you there is no longer Jew or Greek, no longer slave or free, no longer male and female; all are one in Christ Jesus. Holy Spirit, flow through us to bring this vision to life. Amen.